I had spent a good wedge of the morning already sitting staring at my computer for a few hours waiting for the Neiman/Target collabo page to reload, transubstantiated from an immersive but teasing advertisement of the collection to a red blooded, American, God-fearing e-commerce site like the Federalists would have always feared. Alas, after two hours and several nagging cals to customer service, I gave up and went reluctantly to bed.
I dreamt of wool blazers and knit hats and funky skateboards that were just out of my reach, always disappearing down and around some red-painted hall for most of the night.
The alarm clocked wretched me out of my hypersleep just before 6:00am. I lurched awake and fired up my devices. There: the promised land. For such a slick Flash-y landing page, the e-commerce experience was strangely muted. I was annoyed that there was no sizing information for most of the pieces, and had to buy a few sizes just for insurance’s sake. I felt the digital equivalent of the sample sale-goer: items finally in hand, finish line/checkout line within eye line and yet…maybe I should stick around and see if I’ve missed anything?
Nah. A few hundred bucks and a few dozen keystrokes later and my prize was in hand and I slipped back to sleep.
Not that that didn’t stop me from waking up later and to check out the analog experience.
The Elmhurt Target is typical of a Target X New York City “collabo”. It’s fitted inside a large mall experience, along with other behemoths like a Best Buys and a Mrs. Fields. It’s massive, and yet it pulls a classic sci-fi trick in that the inside seems magnitudes larger than even the bulbous exterior suggests. It takes up several floors, connected by toothy escalators that, through an unholy feat of engineering, can even transport shopping carts. It’s fun to watch suburbanites marvel at the cart-elevating contraption. First world, indeed.
I stop a mohawked sales associate* in the menswear department: Where’s the Neiman stuff? He gave me a befuddled answer and sent me to the fitting room attendant, who sent me “towards the back” of the store, where another associate sent me to the menswear department. It’s truly a testament to Target’s material arsenal that its stores are SO FULL of stuff that an entire collection of said stuff can hide and not be easily detected. It was like being on materialism safari.
May I also add that, like most Target stores I’ve been to which are in large urban environments, most of the people were of color. It was Coming To America except everyone was looking for the perfect toaster or sweater set rather than his Queen. Occasionally you ran into a white person and you half felt like following her as if she perhaps knew about some really secretive speakeasy that was behind the children’s shoes department.
Back to the hunt. I ultimately found the collection, in it’s entirely, next to a section that was, well, pregnant with meaning.
Almost immediately other “fashion-y” people emerged. The drawn Asian woman wearing all black drapey clothes. The young #menswear acolyte. The Japanese couple wearing matching bucket hats. The PR lady tweeting on her iPhone. And there, hung amongst the metallic display trees that populate most of the pastures of Target clothing sections, was the fruit I was after.
A review. The material is all wool, and the construction seems decent enough. Even if it weren’t for the vaunted designer brand, it would still be a worthwhile piece at the price. There are functioning buttonholes, which I’m a bit surprised about, but perhaps suggesting that the diligent workers over in Southeast Asia have mastered a feature which once was an indicator of rarified quality.
I wouldn’t fault any jacket nowadays that had just plain ol’ buttons on the sleeves, what with alterations and all. The construction sprites seemed to snip at the details, however — the buttons are hollow and feel cheap, and the tags on the inside are a bit cartoonish. The jacket overall is a sketch of a real Thom Browne jacket, albiet a clever and vibrant sketch. There’s even the coveted back grograin tag.
The rest of the collection seems kitschy, but not to a fault. The Altuzarra shakers gleam a gilded gleam. The Wu girl’s dresses hang red and plump like strawberries. The Band of Outsiders “Best Friends” hats are cuddly. The only thing I turned at was the Alice and Olivia bike. I felt if I picked at the floral print with a nail I’d reveal a ‘Huffy’ decal underneath.
Satisfied that I would be satisfied with the items trucking their way towards me, I scooted back down the escalators, wincing for just a moment at the Mrs. Fields (another time, my dear) and rattled my back on the R/E line. I even managed to stay awake.
*May it be known that all of the sales associates I spoke to were polite and well-meaning, if a little brief.